A black-clad armed robber is believed to be responsible for nine robberies and one fatal shooting at gas stations and convenience stores in Nassau County, sparking a massive manhunt for the suspect and increased patrols in the targeted communities, Nassau police’s top cop said.
“This subject has demonstrated that he is very violent, or can be very violent,” acting police commissioner Thomas Krumpter said during a press conference at the police department’s Mineola headquarters Tuesday. The investigation “is one of the highest priorities of this department at this time,” he added.
To that point, Krumpter was joined by a slew of high-ranking police officials, including the commanders of the both the homicide and robbery squads, which are conducting a joint investigation into the robberies. The Major Case Bureau and Bureau of Special Operations are also assisting in the investigation.
Krumpter said nine robberies and one homicide—beginning in Dec. 20 and continuing through February—are being investigated as pattern crimes, and a single assailant is believed to be involved.
The suspect is described as a black man between 5-feet, 11-inches and 6-feet tall, with a thin build, wearing all black Nike clothing, a black mask, black gloves, black Nike sneakers with red laces and armed with either a black or a silver revolver. He has targeted seven gas stations and two 7-Eleven stores in Westbury, Hicksville and Jericho, police said. Cash was taken in all of the incidents.
The latest incident occurred on Feb. 8, at a Shell gas station on Jericho Turnpike, police said. A Mobil Gas Station on Old Country Road in Westbury has been robbed twice during the one-man crime spree, police said.
Investigators also believe the suspect is the same individual who gunned down a 58-year-old Jericho gas station attendant on Jan. 28. Krumpter declined to go into details about what transpired before the gunman fired into Hany Awad’s abdomen, killing him. Police have not classified the incident a robbery, and have not said if anything was taken.
“It is unusual to have this number in this time, but what is more concerning is the fact that the homicide is consistent with the pattern of the robberies—and that raises the stakes and makes it very concerning to this department,” Krumpter said.
Speaking to residents, Krumpter urged anyone who notices anything suspicious to call 911 immediately. He also urged gas station and convenience store workers to comply if met by an armed assailant. Police have visited all gas stations and convenience stores in the targeted areas, Krumpter said.
“We do have a significant amount of resources that are also involved and a significant increase of patrols,” he added.
Investigators have also determined that a Shell gas station robbery in North Woodmere on Monday involving a knife-wielding suspect is not a part of this crime spree, police said.
Crime Stoppers is offering an award of up to $10,000 for information leading to the suspect’s arrest. A separate $25,000 reward is being offered as part of the homicide investigation.
Below are a list of locations that the suspect is believed to have targeted:
1) 12/20/2014 2:20 AM, Citgo Gas Station, 495 Union Ave. Westbury, N.Y.
2) 12/31/2014 3:27 AM, Mobil Gas Station, 79 Old Country Rd, Westbury, N.Y.
3) 01/08/2015 12:25 AM, 7-11 Store, 384 West John St., Hicksville, N.Y.
4) 01/12/2015 11:50 PM, Mobil Gas Station, 79 Old Country Rd., Westbury, N.Y.
5) 01/13/2015 12:01 AM, 7-11 Store, 384 West John St. Hicksville, N.Y.
6) 01/17/2015 6:05 PM, Citgo Gas Station, 495 Union Ave , Westbury, N.Y.
7) 01/19/2015 9:14 PM, Hess Gas Station, 880 Old Country Rd., Westbury, N.Y.
8) 01/28/2015 9:10 PM, BP Gas Station, 39 Jericho Tpke, Jericho, NY.
9) 02/06/2015 9:35 PM, Hess Gas Station, 800 Jericho Tpke, Westbury, NY.
10) 02/08/2015 10:20 AM, Shell Gas Station, 420 Jericho Tpke, Jericho, NY.